By Neil Trainis
The number responding to the Royal Pharmaceutical Society's first ever survey on equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) was so low that it has been unable to draw any conclusions about the make-up of its membership.
The RPS has revealed that stakeholders in the pharmacy sector told it to set out more clearly why its members should respond to the EDI survey as the professional leadership body struggles to find out more about its membership.
The results of the survey were published in July but drew responses from only 7 per cent of members, prompting chief executive Paul Bennett to admit it was “unable to draw immediate conclusions about the composition of our membership”.
Of the 7 per cent who did respond, 71 per cent were pharmacists, 78 per cent worked in England and 61 per cent were female. While 40 per cent of respondents worked in community pharmacy, 23 per cent worked in hospital pharmacy and 10 per cent in general practice.
Three-quarters were white, 17 per cent were Asian or British Asian and 6 per cent were black or black British, 86 per cent were heterosexual, 61 per cent were married while 29 per cent had never been married or registered a civil partnership.
Amandeep Doll, head of professional belonging at the RPS, said that following the survey it sought the views of its Action in Belonging, Culture and Diversity group. The RPS was told it had not communicated clearly enough to its members the importance of taking part in the survey. The Group contains individuals who work in various roles in the pharmacy sector and who may or may not be RPS members.
The RPS’s inability to establish the make-up of its membership threatens to undermine its inclusion and diversity strategy.
“We are exploring ways to increase the response to future EDI surveys. We’ve already engaged with our Early Careers Group and held an open meeting last week through our Action in Belonging, Culture and Diversity group,” said Ms Doll.
“We received feedback that we need to be clearer about the importance of completing the survey to both the profession and the communities we serve. We also received suggestions about how to make the survey easier to complete.
“The experience of other membership organisations collecting EDI data shows that individuals may feel uncomfortable answering questions about their diversity, but this improves through demonstrable commitment to inclusion and diversity strategies.”
Ms Doll said the RPS would “continue to build trust and a sense of belonging across the profession” in an attempt to persuade more of its members “to share their EDI data with us”.